Current Focus/Activities


Over the past few years, since 2008, ICSF has been engaging with processes of the FAO to seek greater recognition of the rights of small-scale fishing communities. This has been in collaboration with other civil society groups. Partly as a result of such efforts, the 29th Session of the FAO Committee on Fisheries (COFI), Rome, in 2011, approved the development of a new international instrument on small-scale fisheries that would draw on relevant existing instruments, complementing the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries.

Civil society has been actively engaging with this process of developing the guidelines to ensure that the International Guidelines on Small-scale fisheries (IG-SSF) finally adopted reflect the aspirations of small-scale fishing communities worldwide. In collaboration with other organization, 20 national workshops and two regional workshops (both in West Africa) have been organized. Reports from all these processes have been synthesized into a CSO document, that will be used by CSOs to comment on the FAO zero draft of the guidelines, and as the basis for negotiations during the technical consultation to be held in May 2013.



The following are the priority areas for ICSF’s work for the period 2011-12 to 2014-15:


The focus of ICSF programmes and activities will on the following priority areas:

• Right to resources: Improve the overall sustainability of fisheries management by promoting responsible small-scale fisheries; advocate for policies that recognize local and traditional knowledge systems and the rights of small-scale and traditional fishing communities to riparian and coastal resources and to fisheries resources, as well as their rights to manage these resources; promote the rights of fishing communities, including women, to participate in decision-making and management processes. The two programmes under this priority area are coastal and fisheries resources management and marine protected areas

• Women in fisheries: Seek better recognition of the role of women in fisheries and fishing communities, ensuring their fair access to decision-taking and management processes, to resources and to markets

• Climate Change: Draw attention to the impact of climate change on fisheries resources and on fishing communities and advocate for appropriate and socially-just adaptation and mitigation measures

• Trade: Promote trade that is compatible with food and livelihood security; monitor international decision-making processes on trade that have a bearing on food and livelihood security in fishing communities

• Labour: Promote safe working conditions for fishworkers (men and women), including a fair return to their labour

• Aquaculture: Promote family-based, equitable and sustainable aquaculture practices while challenging socially unjust and environmentally destructive forms of aquaculture


The following components will be a part of each programme implemented:

• Monitoring and research

• Training and capacity building

• Advocacy

• Information dissemination


Cross-cutting themes

The following cross-cutting themes are retained from the last quadrennium, to emphasize that programmes taken up are conceptualized and implemented keeping these in mind:

• Gender: Valorize and make visible the role of women in fisheries and in fishing communities; promote gender-just, sustainable fisheries, where women have fair access to decision-taking and management processes, to resources and to markets; promote forms of fisheries development that sustain life and livelihood in fishing communities

• Social and cultural issues: Valorize social and cultural aspects of fisheries and fishing communities, and their traditional and local knowledge systems

• Sustainable small-scale fisheries: Promote sustainable artisanal and small-scale fisheries

• Class and social justice: Promote the interests of workers and other marginal groups in the sector (small-scale owner-operators, market vendors, processors etc.) as defined in each specific context and work towards the elimination of poverty and all forms of discrimination

• Sustainable resource management: Promote conservation, sustainable use and management of resources.